Originally Posted by m. zillch
Back to the topic of standalone, consumer grade, HD (Blu-ray) disc recorders, and their possible demand and marketability in the US. I thought instead of the random speculations of internet forum members like me and others, some here might be interested in what industry experts like CNET
have to say, [this taken from an article about some JVC professional
Blu-ray recorders, then being released]:
There are MANY who would argue c/net is about the most useless bunch of tools ever to try and pass themselves off as a tech site.
I would tend to give more credence to any random poster on AVS than I would any industry article on c/net: their record has been none too good.
"Not a month goes by without us getting an e-mail or two from consumers looking for a set-top Blu-ray recorder. "They're available in Europe and Asia," goes the common refrain. "When will they be coming here?"
Taken literally, this means three years ago
(never mind now) the twits who run c/net claimed to receive "one or two" requests per month
for BluRay recorders. Thats about two dozen a year, being generous. I guarantee you, all 24 of those requests came from AVS members, and I could write you a list of their names
. Panasonic and Sony were not interested in selling 24 BD recorders a year back in 2009, and its not even on their radar in 2012. Sony quickly walked from its own creation: even in Japan there are no Sony-branded BD recorders. If that doesn't tell you something about worldwide lack of interest, nothing will. The Japanese collect test patterns, for pity's sake: they record EVERYTHING. If they've lost interest, its game over for everyone else as well.
Again, no disrespect to you, m. zilch: I know you're digging this stuff up to see if anything has changed since 2009. It hasn't, those "24 requests" to c/net have probably dropped to what you can count on the fingers of one hand in a year. A bunch of us on North American forums like this are clamoring for a new BD/HDD recorder: lets be generous and say 300. Of those 300, perhaps 20 would be willing (and able) to afford what they sell for in England, Germany and Australia: $899+ (US). Everyone else is delusional, believing "economy of scale" would make a $379 BD/HDD recorder possible.
Um, no: if they barely move them in Europe or Japan where consumers had no price resistance until very recently, they aren't gonna be able to get enough volume to cut the price in half for Americans. Pioneer, Sony, and Panasonic already tried that trick with DVD/HDD recorders, and got kicked in the gonads for their trouble. Funai/Magnavox agreed with WalMart to sell DVD/HDD below cost at $229, and they still
rot in the warehouse until "discontinuation rumors" make them sell out once a year or so. And of those that sell, 50% are returned for refund because they're "too complicated to figure out." The brainwaves of the typical American consumer flatline the minute they touch video equipment: if it doesn't read their minds to record their favorite shows, their eyes glaze over and it goes back to the store.
Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news: JVC has just announced two new Blu-ray set-top recorders for the North American market. The bad news? They're expensive models aimed squarely at professional videographers who are mastering their own HD discs (think wedding photographers and the like). They're not intended for home use and--because of their pro-targeted features--wouldn't really be useful for home recording anyway.
JVC couldn't make a reliable disc recorder if their entire board of directors was taken hostage, and that goes double if it involves an HDD. Their track record is atrocious, even the "semi-pro" DVD/HDD and DVD/MiniDV models that were precursor to these newer BD units. They're desperate to move some units in North America, so they repackaged a generic BD/HDD to bait "event videographers" and other "pro" users, figuring a "pro" could write off a $1300 recorder that self-destructs in three months. Plus, they can avoid including the ATSC tuner, meaning they don't have to change anything but the voltage setting on the power supply.
"The reason that consumer Blu-ray recorders don't exist in the U.S. is that they'd be so jammed full of copy-protection schemes (to placate movie studios and TV networks) that they'd be all but unusable for recording TV shows anyway."[emphasis mine]
And with that, c/net proves what a bunch of ignorant tools they are. News flash: the recorders sold in other countries include just about the same
level of DRM and recording restrictions as the North American models. There were a couple of minor exceptions with older DVD/HDD models, but the BD/HDD machines are crawling with restrictions inherent to both BluRay itself and the Japanese brands being in bed with Hollywood on multiple business levels. Hollywood has nothing to do with why BluRay recorders aren't sold in USA/Canada: they aren't sold here because unlike every other civilized region in the world, we are in thrall to cable TV service.
Cable does not want subscribers to use their own recorders when it is so profitable to rent them proprietary PVRs, so they use every technical trick they can muster to frustrate integration of "outside" recorders. There may be 2000 members on AVS that would rather die than pay a PVR rental fee, but there are 20 million cable consumers who are more than happy to skimp on their insulin or baby formula to pay the fees: they like their cable PVRs and TiVos, and they LOVE the one-click integrated EPG timeshifting on simultaneous channels. Oh, and by the way- they have no intention, none whatsoever
, of paying $499-$999 for a generic non-integrated recorder that is really only useful for off-air antenna reception (which they don't get) or dubbing from a camcorder (which they now do on their laptops or tablets). They view $10-15/month for the PVR as small potatoes compared to large upfront cost for a recorder that can't do what they need.
There aren't enough consumers in North America willing to pay for an expensive recorder that can't be easily used with cable: thats all there is to this story. Even if we posit 10,000 AVS members as being interested, thats a drop in the bucket. Perhaps if our government paid more attention to consumer cable rights and less attention to their disastrous rush to sell off the public airwaves for pennies on the dollar, recorders would have been more viable here. But right here, right now in 2012, its all water under the bridge- the worldwide consumer has joined America in its disdain for generic disc recorders, be they DVD or BluRay. The machines are in decline everywhere, from Japan to New Zealand to Europe to Australia. Those of us still arguing for them are considered lunatics who want to live in the past: video disc recorders are about ten minutes away from 8-track audio tape as an obsolete format. We AVS types are interested- but nobody else is. Mfrs need volume or a product dies: so recorders are dying.